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One of the things that I really enjoy about blogs is the fact that they very often offer a huge resource of information, experiences, thoughts and opinions that other more ‘professional’ sites seldom offer.

Let me be totally honest here, whilst I do appreciate the expertise of mental health professionals and am able to gain from them in certain areas the clinical detachment that they often demonstrate  serves many purposes but excludes them when it comes to ‘truly knowing’ what I am going through.

But reading the blogs of others – who actually experience mental health related issues – really does help and in a unique and invaluable way in my opinion.

There is, I think, a ‘weirdness’ and/or a ‘separation’ that is inherent within the whole experience of suffering mental illness that naturally leads one to wonder if what you are experiencing is specific to you only or also to others with the same or similar diagnoses.  Having other sufferer’s blogs and feedback really helps answer this question with an assurance I just don’t get from anywhere else.

One area where this kind of resource would be invaluable for me personally is in respect of the whole ‘thinking verses feeling’ question.

So, seeing as my mind seems to be clearing a little and my focus coming back again, I thought I would share with you that I have for a long time now struggled over my apparent tendency to process rather than to experience.

Emotions have been described as being “a complex psychophysiological experience of an individual’s state of mind as interacting with biochemical (internal) and environmental (external) influences.”

If this is the case then I can’t help wondering if there isn’t something seriously wrong with my biochemistry or at very least the connection between my mind and my biochemistry?

See I have an extremely analytical and logically mind and I tend to analyze and process most things that happen during a day.  I think I mentioned in a previous blog how work colleagues once declared that if I was to be a Star Trek character I would be Data or Spok (depending on the series).

Actually out of Data and Spok I would have to go with Data as a comparison because his mind worked incredibly fast and so does mine, very often way too fast and because he yearned to feel emotions and so too very often do I.

That is not to say that I am devoid of any emotions whatsoever. There are of course some emotions that I do feel and yet there are also other emotions that I do not seem to feel. To be honest, if I had to describe what it is like I would have to say that in a lot of situations – especially when those situations concern me personally – it is as if I mentally process the situation, think it through if you will, instead of engaging with any feelings or emotions.

This causes me to wonder and I can’t help wondering…

If anyone else is like that?
Is it something that is symptomatic of my mental health? or
Is it a learned behavior?
Am I in denial concerning certain emotions?
Are my emotions suppressed? or
Is my mind too active and thus my emotions don’t get a look in? or as I said before

Is there something wrong with the connection between my mind and my biochemistry?

Wanting to explore this further in this post I did a quick search for a list of emotions and found a table listing Parrott’s Emotions by Groups in Wikipedia.  So what I have done is taken that table and crossed out all of the emotions that I personally am not generally able to experience.

Primary emotion Secondary emotion/feelings Tertiary feelings/emotions
Love Affection Adoration · Fondness · Liking · Attractiveness · Caring · Tenderness · Compassion · Sentimentality
Lust/Sexual desire Arousal · Desire · Passion · Infatuation
Longing Longing
Joy Cheerfulness Amusement · Bliss · Gaiety · Glee · Jolliness · Joviality · Joy · Delight · Enjoyment · Gladness · Happiness · Jubilation · Elation · Satisfaction · Ecstasy · Euphoria
Zest Enthusiasm · Zeal · Excitement · Thrill · Exhilaration
Contentment Pleasure
Pride Triumph
Optimism Eagerness · Hope
Enthrallment Enthrallment · Rapture
Relief Relief
Surprise Surprise Amazement · Astonishment
Anger Irritability Aggravation · Agitation · Annoyance · Grouchy · Grumpy · Crosspatch
Exasperation Frustration
Rage Anger · Outrage · Fury · Wrath · Hostility · Ferocity · Bitter · Hatred · Scorn · Spite · Vengefulness · Dislike · Resentment
Disgust Revulsion · Contempt · Loathing
Envy Jealousy
Torment Torment
Sadness Suffering Agony · Anguish · Hurt
Sadness Depression · Despair · Gloom · Glumness · Unhappy · Grief · Sorrow · Woe · Misery · Melancholy
Disappointment Dismay · Displeasure
Shame Guilt · Regret · Remorse
Neglect Alienation · Defeatism · Dejection · Embarrassment · Homesickness · Humiliation · Insecurity · Insult · Isolation · Loneliness · Rejection
Sympathy Pity
Fear Horror Alarm · Shock · Fear · Fright · Horror · Terror · Panic · Hysteria · Mortification
Nervousness Anxiety · Suspense · Uneasiness · Apprehension (fear) · Worry · Distress · Dread

Now to qualify that list I should perhaps say that there are one or two on that list (and I really do mean only one or two) that I have felt but I have crossed them out as I don’t usually experience.

Likewise there are one or two that I don’t experience as an emotion but purely as a thought process.  For example I very seldom of ever experience boredom or isolation as an emotion BUT do mentally process both states.  These processes looking something along the lines of…

Free Time + Clarity of thought + Inactivity = Boredom

However I can’t say that I have ever experienced Boredom as an emotion mainly because I automatically change the equation to read: Free Time + Clarity of thought + Activity = Contentment

Likewise when it comes to Isolation the mental process equation would read…

Companionship – Company = Isolation

However that very seldom if ever progresses into Loneliness, although there have been one or two momentary (and I do mean momentary) experiences of this over the past four or five years.

So as you can see I really do have difficulties with emotions and there are a whole plethora of emotions that I just don’t seem to experience and interestingly they don’t seem to belong to one group but more accurately belong to the extremes of the different groups rather than to the specific groups.

Another interesting situation is in respect of crying.  As I said I do experience some emotions and indeed crying is something that I do very easily when it comes to hearing of or witnessing the sadness or tragedy or distress of others.  BUT interestingly enough when it comes to my own hardship, deep sadness and tragedies I am not able to cry for me.  The same applies when I am in deep pain (which is often) but were I to witness someone else in deep pain I often cry very easily for them.

So I thought I would share this here on my blog and just see what other folk with mental illness might have to say about it.  What their, or perhaps your, experiences are?  Does anyone else experience similar difficulties as me when it comes to experiencing emotions?

I would be interested to receive your comments sharing your experiences and opinions on this.